Erie's Tony Plagman drilled a two-out, game-winning, solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night, sending the SeaWolves into celebration mode with a 3-2 win over the Akron Aeros at Jerry Uht Park.
With the bases empty, Plagman, a third year pro out of Georgia Tech, yanked a 2-1 pitch from Rob Bryson over the right field fence for the game-winner. It was Plagman's 13th homer of the year. Bryson (5-4) had retired all eight batters he had faced until Plagman ended the game.
The Aeros (75-53) have lost the first two games of the series, but once again saw their magic number for clinching a division title shrink. Thanks to a 7-3 Bowie loss at Richmond, Akron's magic number for winning the EL West is now seven with 14 games to play.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh against lefty reliever Kenny Faulk, Ryan Rohlinger lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Jesus Aguilar, who had singled and moved to third on a double by Matt Lawson. Rohlinger's sacrifice fly tied the game at 2-2.
Michael Morrison, who issued two bases-loaded walks on Monday, came on after Faulk's three innings of work, and worked a scoreless ninth to earn the win. Morrison (4-3) issued a walk to Thomas Neal leading off the ninth, but retired the next three hitters to set the stage for Plagman's heroics in the bottom of the ninth.
The SeaWolves (55-73) took a 2-1 lead in the sixth, finally breaking through against Akron starter Toru Murata. Murata gave up a leadoff double to James McCann, who advanced to third on a ground out. With two down, McCann scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1. After a single by Avisail Gracia, Jordan Lennerton doubled to left to score Garcia for a 2-1 Erie lead.
Murata deserved a better fate than a no-decision. One night after using five relievers in a 5-2 loss, the Aeros needed a lengthy outing from Murata Tuesday. He responded with his longest outing of the year, six innings, He scattered five hits, walked one and struck out two. It was his sixth start for the Aeros this season.
The Aeros took a 1-0 lead in the fifth off Erie starter Ramon Garcia on a sacrifice fly by Aguilar. Garcia, 4-0 against the Aeros this season, settled for a no-decision. He left after five innings and a whopping 116 pitches.
Akron stranded 13 men on base and finished the game 2-15 with runners in scoring position.
Lawson was 1-5, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Tyler, Holt, Jordan Henry and Aguilar all had two hits for the Aeros, who dropped to 9-13 against the SeaWolves this year.
The Aeros and SeaWolves will conclude the series on Wednesday night at 7:05 as the Wolves go for the sweep. RHP Danny Salazar (2-0, 2.70) will start for the Aeros, while RHP Jared Gayhart (1-3, 4.50) will make the start for the SeaWolves.